FYRE Scholars is a comprehensive program that enables former foster youth to have academic support while attending the University of California, Irvine to successfully complete their bachelor’s degree.  Housed under UCI’s Student Success Initiatives, this program was formed to aid former foster youth in their transition to university life.


The FYRE Scholars program at the University of California, Irvine strives to provide support to college students formerly in the foster care system.  This program aims to create a network that enhances the academic success and personal well-being of former foster youth attending UCI.  We guarantee a welcoming community for individuals who have faced similar experiences.  We promote transitional and educational opportunities in support of student learning and success. Thus, assisting FYRE scholars in gaining the necessary skills to become self-supporting, successful individuals who go on to transform their college experience into meaningful careers and lives.


To enable academic success for former foster youth in higher education


  • To give personalized assistance with educational goals and practical day-to-day needs to ensure that scholars take full advantage of the university, inside and outside the classroom
  • To encourage academic excellence and connect newfound knowledge to current experiences and future career goals
  • To provide a genuine support system of peers to FYRE scholars during their time as an undergraduate student at UCI
  • To empower self-sufficiency by sharing opportunities and resources that are present both on-campus and within the greater Orange County community


FYRE Scholars Program Components


Students for the FYRE Scholars program will be identified through information provided by the Office of Admissions and Office of Financial Aid.  Through these offices, students who have applied and are admitted into UCI self-identified themselves on their applications as former foster youth.  Both offices are utilized to cross-reference students to confirm their former foster youth status.

Once all students are identified as former foster youth, they are contacted by Student Success Initiatives via email and are encouraged to register their former foster youth status with the office. Registering with the office requires proof of former foster youth status and students who need guidance in acquiring such documents can be given more information through SSI.

As of the 2016-2017 academic school year, 65 former foster youth students registered with SSI. In the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year, there are approximately 20 incoming freshmen that will be joining the FYRE Scholars program.



FYRE Scholars are invited to the welcome kick-off dinner during Week One to introduce them to the FYRE Scholars program requirements. This event will provide students with what kind of support and community they can receive among other students who have had similar experiences. FYRE Scholars will be given information on services specific to them as scholars, such as meetings, workshops, and counseling. They will also be given information about services within SSI that they can benefit from (i.e. book loan program, study spaces, LARC scholarships, etc.).



Student Success Initiatives is always an open space for FYRE scholars.  All counselors within SSI have an open door policy to serve students.  However, if students need extensive services and guidance, they can also schedule an appointment with the FYRE Scholars Coordinator HERE.

FYRE Scholars are required to schedule one meeting per quarter with the FYRE Scholars Coordinator.  This meeting would encompass conversation regarding any academics/classes, resources, opportunities on-campus (jobs, internships, volunteering, etc.), and any personal support needed.  Scholars are encouraged to visit and meet more often than once a quarter if they wish to have more support.



Workshops specifically for FYRE Scholars will take place throughout the year.  Attending these workshops will be beneficial for transitioning and thriving at UCI.  Workshops will consists of a range of topics, including: CalFresh program, time management and study skills, holistic healing, summer planning, graduate school preparation, etc.  Certain workshops may be collaborative with other workshop initiatives occurring at Student Success Initiatives and the Transfer Student Hub.



UCI offers on-campus tutoring through the Learning and Academic Resource Center (LARC).  Typically, this tutoring service costs $110 per quarter.  However, through the scholarship, FYRE scholars can have their LARC tutoring paid for by SSI.  FYRE Scholars are required to complete an online scholarship agreement form and must adhere to the terms of the agreement every quarter.



By enrolling in the FYRE Scholars program, students will be eligible to receive priority registration for classes every quarter.  Priority registration allows scholars to register for classes before a majority of the undergraduate population does.



Former foster youth at UCI are allowed guaranteed housing throughout their entire time at the university.  Guaranteed housing specifies that these students are permitted to reside in some form of on-campus housing year-round.



FYRE scholars are provided funding to purchase textbooks for classes through non-profit partnerships that SSI have.  Organizations such as the John Burton Foundation and Echoes of Hope have worked to provide former foster youth the means to purchase books for their classes.  These organizations have their own requirements of eligibility for book funding that are separate from the FYRE Scholars program.  For information on specific requirements, the FYRE Scholars Coordinator can assist students.




Janet Perez-Molina

Counselor/Program Coordinator- Foster Youth Resilience in Education (FYRE)

Janet attended California State University, Fullerton (Go Titans!) where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Services. Janet has several years of professional experience working as an Academic Advisor for Pre-Collegiate TRIO Programs at Cal State Fullerton.  She also served as Academic Coordinator for the CSUF GEAR UP Program. She completed her Master of Science in Counseling: Student Development in Higher Education at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Janet is dedicated to helping underrepresented students from low-income backgrounds to prepare and succeed in postsecondary education. Janet loves to connect students to resources and networks that will provide that support and help them thrive in college. Janet hopes to be a resource for you all throughout your time at UCI. If you have any questions about the Foster Youth Resilience in Education (FYRE) Program at UC Irvine or are interested in participating, please contact her.

Office: 2200 Student Services II
E-mail: jvperezm@uci.edu

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